Matti Sarmela

Helsingin yliopiston kulttuuriantropologian professori emeritus

Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki 1973 - 2000.

A founder and the first professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Helsinki.

A founder and the first president of the Finnish Anthropological Society (1975).

Founder of Suomen Antropologi - Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society (1976). Member in the committees for establishment of the Museum of Cultures in Helsinki (1999).

Main research areas: local cultures of Finland and Thailand.

Main aspects: cultures as techno systems in their environment; structural change in cultures; adaptation into future; postlocal digital culture.

Major work: Atlas of Finnish Folklore, also translated into German, awarded the prestigious Finlandia prize for scientific literature in 1994.

Published 16 books and over 200 papers about cultural anthropology, ethnology and folklore.

Key terms and topics

  • local, delocal, postlocal (global) environment and cultural systems
  • structural change; adaptation to the future; finalization
  • meritocracy, techno system, religion of development
  • cultural imperialism; consciousness industry
  • folklore and religion of hunting, swidden and agrarian cultures
  • Finnish customs and folklore; local culture of Thailand
  • statistical methods, mapping of Finnish ethnic culture     

  • Books in the Nett. In the English language.

POSTLOCAL CULTURE. Finalization of the Global development 2013. English summary of the original book in Finnish (Postlokaalinen kulttuuri).

LAWS OF DESTINY NEVER DISAPPEAR. Culture of Thailand in the Postlocal World I.- III. 2005.


In Finnish:

PHOTO REPORT FROM THAILAND I.− III. Lampang town and three villages.

Sample of 3060 pictures from original collection of 13 900 slides. From years 1972−1973 1984−1985 1997−1999. 2019  (see: Thaimaan kulttuuri)


Iriadamantit. Delegitimointi ja kunnon ihmiset. 2004

Murhijärvi. Kuinka Suomussalmen Murhisalo suojeltiin. 2020

Piikkejä.   Pieniä kirjoituksia 

Kuva: Matti Saanio 1975
Kuva: Matti Saanio 1975